DMC World Championships

It was London’s turn to host the DMC World Championships this year and the Big Smoke didn’t disappoint. Despite a slow and slightly amateurish start, the final twenty minutes illustrated why the DMCs are a DJ battle to get excited about.
New Zealand’s DJ Impact was the first to start turning heads, displaying some quick hands over the crossfader and an eclectic set complete with dirty rock samples. Benelux’s ND (finishing in joint 4th with Impact) also showed some skills and his drop of Timberland’s ‘Indian Flute’ went down particularly well.

DJ Final's set (Norway) started off promising with a Hindu beat sample but the change over between tracks was slow and the drops sometimes off beat. However, the electro mash up in the middle saved him as did his fast mix of The Streets’ ‘Blinded by the Lights’. In contrast, Mandrayq (Italy), who joined Final in 7th place, started off quite messy but tightened up throughout his set and despite inconsistencies, redeemed himself by the end.

Disappointingly, the UK’s Jeppa played a mediocre set to the attentive home crowd. Introducing himself with Avalanche-style oldschool vocals, he kept it fresh with big sounds and dramatic mixing. But his sampling of Slumdog’s ‘Jai Ho’ was uninspiring and his chosen dub tracks were average. In fact Jeppa finished a whole minute early, highlighting either self-satisfied arrogance or merely just a royal cock-up. Either way, he cushioned himself nicely next to Impact and ND in joint 4th place.

The organisers knew what they were doing though and left the crème de la DMC to the end. France’s Ligone was strong from start to finish. There were the perfect mix of tempos, double-handed scratching and intricate mixing- as shown by his slowed down Dizzee sample. He was a real crowd pleaser and helped get some much needed hype back into the 02; something which clearly impressed the judges too as he pinched 3rd place.

If this was a battle, then as soon as Co-Ma walked on stage, the war had commenced. This guy became your new favourite before his fingers even touched the deck. One of the highlights were the gymnastics on display with some behind the back and under the leg action, which not only got the crowd rowdy but helped secure his performer credentials. His hands were going so fast (for what seemed to be minutes, not seconds) that smoke should have billowed out from the turntables. After his 6 minutes was up, his rival, and final DJ of the night, Shiftee (USA) took over.

Shiftee, reminiscent of an early A-Trak, had a tight range of samples. Everything from hip hop to the more humorous, like Annie Get your Gun’s ‘Anything you can do..’ were repped. His scratching techniques were indisputably solid and showed exactly how a pro functions- from the classic to the sublime (double finger scratching anyone?!). His drops were impeccably timed and his memorable finish- which saw him come to the front of the stage- was more justified than audacious, as he landed himself first prize (below).

Although the crowd seemed torn between runner-up Co-Ma and the newly crowned champ, the judges gave Shiftee a clear 5-point lead. The championships were now over and it was Qbert’s (top) turn to take centre stage and show how a world-renowned DJ can smash it. All the commotion surrounding the champs quickly faded as everyone was silenced by Qbert’s skills. At times, the beat was so pure it came strictly from his (middle finger) scratching. To say this boy’s got stamina is an understatement; this was a real performance where tempos were pushed to the extreme and dope sounds, which didn’t seem humanly possible to create, were happily received by the crowd. The night culminated in a super jam sesh where such heads like Rob Swift, Fly, Switch, Prime Cuts and ID all joined Qbert on stage. Essentially, the 2009 champs were battled out by two memorable and talented DJs but it was the US who got to take the gold (-plated decks) home. Reviewed by Naomi Kay

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